Nausea can occur with or without diarrhea or vomiting. It can be triggered by consumption of contaminated foods, acquiring a bacterial or viral infection, chemotherapy or motion sickness.
It is also a side effect of various medications. Regardless of the precise cause of nausea, it can make a child miserable but luckily, there are measures that can help the child feel better.
Steps in managing nausea
- Make sure that the child is given enough time to rest. In some instances, lying down even for a few hours is enough to make the child feel better.
- The child should take small sips of clear fluids such as broths and non-caffeinated sodas. If the child takes in large gulps, the stomach will rapidly expand and make the nausea even worse.
- Provide the child with ice chips until the stomach settles. Do not provide solid foods since these can aggravate nausea especially if the child has diarrhea or vomiting. In case the child is vomiting, do not give any solids for at least 6 hours. Once the stomach starts to feel better, steadily introduce bland foods that are quick to digest such as toast, crackers and bananas.
- An oral rehydration solution should be given if nausea is accompanied by vomiting or diarrhea. This helps in preventing dehydration. Take note that plain water could not replace the lost electrolytes in the body.
- Do not provide the child with fatty, dairy, salty or spicy foods until nausea has fully settled. These foods are likely to irritate the stomach lining.
- Children older than 2 years of age can be given ginger. A doctor should be consulted first to determine the suitable amount of ginger to provide which is based on the weight and age.
Do not provide the child with medications for nausea unless instructed by the doctor. It is important to note that nausea is typically caused by viral gastroenteritis, thus antibiotics are not effective.
Over-the-counter drugs such as ibuprofen and acetaminophen can irritate the stomach and heightens the risk for nausea. Do not provide aspirin to children since it increases the risk for developing Reye’s syndrome.